What Is Hepatitis B?

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a dangerous liver infection which spreads by the Hepatitis B virus. For some individuals, hepatitis B remains acute while for others, it turns into chronic disease lasting for around 9-12 months. Chronic liver infections due to Hepatitis B have a high chance to turn into liver cancer, cirrhosis or liver failure. Most of the adults suffering from Hepatitis B usually recover entirely without any long-lasting effects. However, children and infants are at a high risk to suffer from chronic infections. There is no permanent cure for hepatitis B, but you can prevent yourself against Hepatitis B through vaccines.

Hepatitis B infection is either short-lived or long-lived depending, i.e. acute or chronic. Acute infections last for less than 6-7 months, where the immune system fights against the virus and offers complete recovery. Chronic diseases, on the other hand, continue for more than six months. If they keep on lingering, the immune system is unable to fight against it leading to a debilitating condition.

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The signs and symptoms of Hepatitis B range between mild, moderate or severe, they appear between 4-16 weeks once you get infected. The symptoms of Hepatitis B include abdominal pain, joint pain, fever, dark urine, appetite loss, vomiting, nausea, yellowish discolouration of the skin and eyes. It is crucial to visit the doctor as soon as possible, once you suffer from the infection of Hepatitis B. if you receive the treatment for hepatitis B immediately within 24 hours, you are at lesser risk to suffer from severe signs and symptoms.

The ultimate cause of Hepatitis B includes the Hepatitis B virus, which spreads from one person to another through body fluids like semen, blood or others. The conventional ways of HBV transmission include sexual contact where you undergo unprotected sex with an infected person. The virus can pass through the saliva, blood, semen or vaginal secretions of an infected person. Other ways of HBV transmission include needle sharing or use of contaminated syringes which have infected the blood. Accidental needle stick injury can also result in HBV transmission. Mothers can also spread the disease to the children when they are pregnant during childbirth. To prevent the transfer of virus to the newborn, he or she can be vaccinated as soon as they born to avoid the spread of the infection.

The risk factors for hepatitis B include needle sharing, unprotected sex, men who sex with men, childbirth from an infected mother, travelling to areas with a high risk of Hepatitis B transmission. A job like being a dentist where you are at a high exposure to a patient’s blood or living with an infected person makes you prone to high risk of Hepatitis B transmission.

The severe complications with HBV infection include liver cirrhosis where there is scarring of the liver, increased chances of liver cancer, liver shutdown where the liver is unable to perform essential functions, kidney disorders or inflammatory disease of the blood vessels.

The only way to prevent Hepatitis B is to get yourself vaccinated. The vaccine for Hepatitis B is commonly recommended for newborns, children, adults, working at a place where there are disabled people, living with a Hepatitis B infected patient, emergency or healthcare workers, person who has more than one sexual partner, a person who shares needles or syringes, people suffering from chronic liver disorder or kidney disorder.

Take precautionary measures to avoid HBV infections like knowing the status of your sexual partner, use latex condoms, avoid any use of illegal drugs, and be cautious during tattooing or body piercing.

The diagnosis of Hepatitis B virus involves physical examination, medical history, blood tests, liver ultrasound, liver biopsy and others depending on the condition. For treatment, there are various supportive measures with lifestyle changes that help in coping up with the symptoms. Keep yourself connected with others and take good care of yourself, especially through dietary changes and rest.

Until Next Time,

Team Doctor ASKY!

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